Tell me you didn’t see this coming…

…CBS’s reality show Kid Nation “draws a claim of possible child abuse.”

Some of my favorite excerpts from the NYT article:

CBS officials say they broke no laws. “We feel very comfortable that this was appropriate from a legal point of view,� Ghen Maynard, the executive vice president for alternative programming at CBS, said in an interview Friday.

Tom Forman, the executive producer of the show, told television writers last month…that New Mexico had been chosen because Bonanza Creek [Movie Ranch] offered a unique setting. New Mexico also had no specific regulations concerning the use of child actors in television and film production, which many states, including California and New York, do have.

[…] Though many states limit the number of hours children can work a day on television productions, Mr. Forman said the children set their own hours.

Mr. Anschell also said that state labor laws did not apply. “The children were not employed under the legal definition,� he said. “They were not receiving set wages for performing specific tasks or working specific hours.�

But the parents were told before the children left to go to the set that they would receive a $5,000 stipend for their participation. The children also had the opportunity to earn [up to] $20,000 […]. In addition, the children were assigned tasks and were paid for those with buffalo nickels, which they could then use to buy items at a dry-goods store or a candy shop or to buy drinks at a root beer saloon.

Nevertheless, Mr. Anschell said, “those were not wages and did not create an employee relationship.�

The children’s definition of work is somewhat different. “Everyone usually had a job,â€? said Mike, an 11-year-old from Bellevue, Wash., who participated in the show. Among them were cooking, cleaning, hauling water and running the stores […]

Never mind the kids’ bleach-drinking incident or one little girl’s grease burns from cooking.

Tune in this fall!!


1 Response to “Tell me you didn’t see this coming…”

  1. 1 noname
    August 18, 2007 at 10:39 pm

    The producers and the network don’t give a damn about these children’s welfare. This show could not have been produced in California – it would have been shut down before a frame of tape was shot.

    Every moment of the children’s activity was monitored by producers and camera operators. Obviously, the rule was to “let the moment happen” rather than assisting children who were injured.

    If this show rates, there will be many more just like it.

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